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July - August 2010 | Each year, around this time, we take a look at the most promising ‘on trend’ innovations, as spotted by our sister company Springwise. No surprise, that with the entire world now battling it out in the consumer arena, the amount of talent, of creativity, of innovations, is staggering. Welcome to INNOVATION INSANITY ; -)

We all agree that innovation is the only way to survive in an ever more global, competitive business arena. We’re talking basically anything that will get consumers spending, and preferably the kind of spending that involves sustainable goods, services and experiences. And since everyone from Seth Godin to the Harvard Business Review is providing you with excellent, inspiring insights and theory on innovation as a mindset, a process, a way of life, we'd like to contribute to the conversation with examples of actual B2C innovations. Tons of 'em. As we see it: INNOVATION INSANITY | There will never be a shortage of smart new ventures, brands, goods and services that deliver on consumers’ wants and needs. In fact, with the entire world now engaged in creative destruction, INNOVATION INSANITY is upon us. So yes, the dozens of innovations we’ve rounded up for this briefing, courtesy of our sister-site Springwise, are just the tip of the iceberg. Invent, improve, copy… or perish. The link between INNOVATION INSANITY and consumer trends? As focused as we are on emerging consumer trends, we never tire of pointing out that trends are only good for one thing: inspiring you to innovate, to come up with new goods, services and experiences for (or even better, with) your customers. You are reading a PDF version of “INNOVATION INSANITY” (

Innovation: not just labs, not always earnest, not necessarily expensive

Our recent  STATUSPHERE  Trend Briefing gave you a taste of some of the ways in which consumers are  now getting their status fix.    Here  are a few more innovative examples, related to skills and status:

Three more thoughts on innovation: •

Innovation is not necessarily about people in white coats puttering about in R&D labs. In our current experience economy, marketing innovation is equally important, and often trumps technical innovation. Furthermore, as consumers’ wants are sometimes frivolous, new products and services can be, too. Really, innovation doesn’t have to be so earnest all the time. Thirdly, doing or starting something new doesn't have to cost the world. Many of the innovations featured in this briefing thrive on nimbleness and creativity, not huge budgets.

Hotels | Dubbed “Night School,” the Seattle Sorrento Hotel's offers a collaboration with chef Michael Hebb and “an array of intellectuals, artists, writers, filmmakers, mixologists, chefs and the leading cultural institutions in the Northwest”. The Night School's Midnight Symposium series, for example, invites guests to gather and discuss a particular reading, while the Drinking Lessons series in the hotel's Hunt Club bar offers two-hour lessons in the preparation and history of three distinct cocktails. More »

Springwise New Business Ideas is’s sister site. Do not miss out! OK, enough preaching, let’s get to practicing: check out these 67+ innovations, arranged by trends (STATUS STORIES, CROWD-EXPRESS, and more) and B2C industries. All sourced from’s sister site Springwise, which finds and publishes the best innovations from around the world, with the help of 8,000+ Springspotters. Seriously, if you don't yet subscribe to their weekly newsletter, you're missing out! Here goes:

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We covered  GENERATION G  last year, and with even more brands and consumers adopting a generous mindset, the innovations keep on coming:

Bars and Restaurants | Spanish restaurant chain Fresc Co offers free English language lessons to its patrons. Fresc Co operates 40 restaurants in 11 Spanish cities, focusing on fresh ingredients and Mediterranean dishes. Last February, two of its Barcelona locations began offering two-hour sessions targeting professional workers with a focus primarily on everyday language and work situations. More »

Bikes | Calfee Design is helping entrepreneurs in the developing world make locally sourced bamboo bicycles for domestic and international sale. Through the Bamboosero initiative, Calfee set up two bike-building groups in Ghana who build frames using locally sourced bamboo before shipping them to the US. The Ghanaian entrepreneurs earn about USD 150 for every frame they build. More »

Food & Beverage | British brewer Tom Wood's recently launched a mobile bottling operation for DIY brewers in the form of a wellequipped truck that can drive to virtually any UK location. Services include everything from pre-production bottle washing through a range of bottle capping options, labelling and finally shrink-wrapping. More »

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Financial Services | Launched in February 2010, Choose Change ATM has developed a brand of ATMs that lets users donate USD 1 of each USD 2 transaction fee to a non-profit organization of their choice. Users select from a display of eight nonprofits, supporting causes such as disaster aid, poverty relief and human rights. The ATMs are installed at no cost to retailers and Choose Change handles all of the maintenance and refills. More »

Not for profit & social cause | GiveMeTap lets consumers in the UK refill their water bottles for free at participating cafés. Beginning in Manchester, GiveMeTap has signed up numerous restaurants and cafés willing to supply free access to clean tap water; said providers can be located via PC or smartphone using GiveMeTap's mapping service. In order to partake, consumers need to be carrying one of GiveMeTap's branded aluminium bottles, which are priced at GBP 7. GiveMeTap uses 70 percent of the profits from those sales to fund independent water projects in regions where they're most needed. More »

Domestic Care | Cleaning-products maker Method toured the streets of New York in May 2010 with its “Wash Smart, Give Smart” truck to encourage people to donate clothing. Through a partnership with Goodwill, San Francisco-based Method equipped a glass-walled truck with a mobile laundry room that was used to wash and dry clothes before delivering them to New York Goodwill locations to be resold. Passers-by were encouraged to spontaneously donate an item of clothing off their bodies, and as part of Method's “laundry smarts” campaign, there was also a photo station, samples, games and prizes. More »

Fashion | Philadelphia-based Warby Parker offers its own, inhouse designs through the mail for USD 95 including delivery. Rather than maintain a physical store, Warby Parker gives consumers two ways to try its frames on: with its virtual try-on feature using an uploaded photo, or via its free, 7-day home trial of up to five styles at a time. For each pair of glasses it sells, Warby Parker donates to nonprofit Restoring Vision, which then donates a pair of glasses to someone in need. More »

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Food & Beverage | Online wine vendor CellarThief donates 100 days' worth of clean water for every bottle of wine it sells. Launched in early 2010, CellarThief sells only three heavilydiscounted wines on its site at any given time, hand-picked from world-class wineries by industry veterans. The company has partnered with Charity: Water to provide clean water to those who need it. In addition to the donation made each time a bottle of wine is sold, further donations are made each time a wine sells out. More »

Fashion | FIGS is a California-based tie maker that donates a school uniform to a needy African child for each purchase on its site, allowing those in poverty-stricken areas to attend school where a uniform is necessary. The company sells a wide variety of neckwear—in varieties including Italian silk woven, pure British woolen and fine wool tartan—at prices ranging from USD 105 to USD 140 each. Custom ties are also available. More »

Not for profit & social cause | Aiming to transform the slums of Rio de Janeiro through large, community-driven murals, the Favela Painting project also incorporates training and employment for local residents. In each of its projects, Favela has focused on recruiting local residents to do much of the painting, including training and paying them. More »

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While globalism is a given, the vast majority of consumers continue to live and work in their local area. So, whether it’s producing goods locally, celebrating an urban area, or providing location-specific services, the potential of these innovations continues to grow:

Food & Beverage | Taking a local approach to candy bars, Nestlé recently launched 19 new Kit Kat flavours in Japan that reflect food specialties of specific districts. Each flavor is sold exclusively in the region for which it was created. The Japanese Kit Kat varieties include yubari melon and baked corn from Hokkaido island; strawberry cheesecake from Yokohama; cherries from Yamagata Prefecture; and sweet potato, blueberry and soybean from the Kanto region. More »

Food & Beverage | Oregon-based SoupCycle offers organic soup, made from locally grown produce and delivered each week to subscribers. Consumers who live or work in the company's delivery area order their soup a week in advance. SoupCycle then buys the necessary produce from local farmers and cooks the week’s soup, which is delivered by bicycle over the following days. More »

It’s a long time since we covered  CURATED  CONSUMPTION,  but as consumers are still spoiled for choice (if not overwhelmed), and there is still a growing demand for trusted curators across every B2C sector:

Fashion | Panty by Post is a Canadian venture that offers women's underwear by monthly subscription. The company has an exclusive agreement with Montreal’s Blush Lingerie for its signature and bridal lines. Customers can order panties individually, or they can sign up for subscriptions lasting two, three, six or 12 months. A different panty is then sent every month, with prices ranging from CDN 16 for a single pair to CDN 240 for a year's worth of premium deliveries. More »

Publishing | IndieReader offers a marketplace for independent, self-published books. The books sold on the site are curated by IndieReader to ensure that the cream of the indie “crop" is wellrepresented. Self-published authors begin by sending their books for vetting, if accepted they then pay an annual fee of USD 149 for their first book, which goes up for sale on IndieReader. When a consumer makes a purchase, IndieReader notifies the author by email and the author ships the book out. IndieReader pays authors 75 percent of the sales of their books at the end of each month, plus the shipping fees paid by buyers. More »

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Consumers will always feel the need for  DAILY  LUBRICANTS: products that make their lives simpler and easier. Of course, brands will forever be happy to oblige:

Retail | With three stores in Northern Spain, butcher Izarzugaza has installed a vending machine outside its Mundaka shop that sells a variety of meats, sausages, sandwiches and other goods around the clock. Products sold within the machine vary with the season, so summer offerings might include pasta salads while the emphasis is more on meatballs and sausages in the wintertime. More » Travel & Transport | ANWB, the Dutch motorists association, has launched a mobile store that will tour France this summer. The ANWB's store on wheels will stop at campgrounds across France, selling tourists items they forgot to pack, from toothbrushes and sunblock to its own maps and travel guides. It will be joined by motor care teams who'll check tire pressure, give traffic updates and clean car windows and mirrors. When drivers have finally reached their destination, the ANWB's 'Helping Hands' will pitch tents, fill jerry cans and even dry dishes. More » Fashion | Belgian OrgaSizer offers an online place to check the sizes and preferences of loved ones and friends. Users of OrgaSizer can then enter all their sizes and preferences for a variety of different types of clothing, deciding what information they'd like to share with others, and exactly whom they'd like to share it with. Users can also create wish lists and request reminders about important gift-giving dates. Ultimately, the idea is that shoppers hoping to purchase a gift can then check the site from wherever they happen to be to see what the recipient wants, and in what sizes or variations. More »

Retail | Fragrance retailer Sephora installed a series of machines at various Paris Métro stations dedicated to selling Calvin Klein's CK One scent in a special, portable size. In February 2010, visitors to the Métro's La Défense, Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, Montparnasse and Miromesnil stations could buy a special 15ml size of CK One at an on-site "CK One Pocket Store" by Sephora. More »

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Bikes | German startup MyBikeNumber, launched in December 2009, is a free online service that lets consumers register their bicycle and components, or search for them worldwide. Users register their bike on the MyBikeNumber site using the frame number, and add photos to the profile page to help visually identify their bike. Registered bikes are allocated a unique QR code, which can be printed as a sticker and affixed to the frame. More »

Public Transport | Tube Refund helps consumers get compensated for the 40 or so delays that occur each week on the London Underground. Each time a train is delayed by more than 15 minutes, riders are entitled to a full refund of a single-journey fare. Priced at GBP 0.59, the Tube Refund app can be used to register where and when a delay occurred and how long it lasted. Tube Refund then submits that information to the London Underground website, which generates a refund voucher for the user. More »

Insurance | AccidentSketch is a free online tool that allows users to graphically document car accidents using a drag and drop template system. Road 'pieces' are added to a grid to create an accurate depiction of the road, before vehicles are placed on the road map. Final details are then added, such as bicycles, pedestrians, traffic signs, lights, arrows and braking marks. The finished sketch can be printed out or downloaded as a PDF file. More »

Personal Care | New York-based 3floz offers a range of luxury skin and hair care products for men and women, all in travelfriendly sizes of 3 fluid ounces (100 ml) or less. 3floz is also marketing itself as a sample site, catering to consumers who want to try out high-end beauty products without committing to pricey full-sized versions. International shipping is available, including delivery direct to hotels, as well as a same-day courier delivery service within Manhattan. More »

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From customized and personalized goods to obsessing over one's personal online presence, BRAND ME will continue to be a source for innovation for years to come:

Food & Beverage | Progurt is a do-it-yourself yoghurt kit that aims to provide an alternative to store-bought packaged nutraceuticals. The DIY yoghurt maker comes with accessories including refrigeration tubs, electrolyte complexes, prebiotic syrups and probiotic sachets. Each Progurt probiotic sachet contains a formulation of multiple strains of probiotic bacteria of human origin to enhance and strengthen the immune system. A starter pack including one incubator, one tub, prebiotic syrup and a pack of 15 probiotic sachets is priced at AUD 440. More »

Kids | Japan’s Otete & Anyo offers original stamps of babies' hand- and footprints. The engraved prints can be used not only

as stamps for papers and letters, but also as lifelong mementos suitable for birthday presents, baby gifts and more. Parents or other gift-givers begin by making an ink print of baby's hands and feet, then emailing those prints to Otete & Anyo, which engraves them in real size. More »

Social Media | Famebook and TweetNotebook both of embellish custom notebooks with select online content: With BookofFame, Facebook users can create a unique notebook featuring a post from their Facebook feed at the bottom of each page. By connecting to Facebook from the BookofFame site, users allow Famebook to access their status updates, which are then used to create a notebook with one timestamped update on the bottom of each page. Users can choose their own cover post and design. TweetNotebook, meanwhile, features the user's Twitter posts instead. Customers enter their Twitter name on the site, and it automatically populates each page in a blank 320-page notebook with one randomly selected tweet along with its timestamp and URL. More »

Food & Beverage | Canadian RedMoon Custom Pet Food lets its customers design the food they buy for their cats and dogs. RedMoon offers fully customizable dry pet food based on a vari-

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ety of meats, produce and supplements. Dog owners begin by choosing a base formula and indicating the activity level of their dog. They then select the size of kibble they'd like and then a variety of supplements are available to be added. Cat owners have similar options, starting with a base food made from salmon. More »

Fashion | Shortomatic is a California-based company that invites consumers to upload their own art to create customized swim shorts. Customers indicate their waist size then upload, position and size the art, choose their colors and add text for use on the waistband. Shortomatic's Artist's Program curates designs, which are produced in limited editions of 200, with creators receiving USD 5 for every pair sold. More »

Consumers crave (relevant, timely) information, and it’s never been easier to satisfy this INFOLUST (with a heavy dose of NOWISM thrown in, too):

Travel & Transport | DailyRoads Voyager is a free application for Android-powered mobile phones that enables continuous video recording from moving vehicles. DailyRoads Voyager is intended to serve as what's essentially a video black box for cars, recording everything but allowing users to keep only what they're really interested in. Whether it's an encounter with unusual wildlife in the road or the sequence of events leading to an accident, the application works in the background to timestamp, geotag and save all videos on the SD card. More »

Funerals | RosettaStone is a palm-sized stone tablet with an embedded microchip and up to six engraved symbols that can be selected to represent key milestones or affiliations in the deceased's life. The RosettaStone can be preinstalled in a new gravestone or added to an existing one to create a technologiYou are reading a PDF version of “INNOVATION INSANITY” (

cally enhanced memorial that will allow future site visitors to read the deceased's story from a mobile device. More »

Bars & Restaurants | With two restaurants in New York and London, Australia-based Otarian bills itself as “the first ever lowcarbon restaurant chain, using a cradle-to-grave analysis in the carbon footprinting of every menu item.” Almost everything in Otarian's restaurants—from the floor to the tables and chairs—is made from recycled materials. Its “Eco2tarian Labelling” shows the difference in greenhouse gas emissions between its veggie meals and similar dishes containing meat, fish or egg. More »

and sightseeing highlights that each city has to offer, as well as illustrating the specific locations of local businesses who advertise on the maps. More »

Social Media | Stickybits lets anyone scan any product barcode and append their own music, text, photos or video content. Users first download the free Stickybits app, then scan a barcode and attach content. When the geo-tagged barcode is scanned again by someone else, they'll see whatever was attached to it along with who else has scanned it along the way. Also available from Stickybits, meanwhile, are downloadable, printable barcodes that can be glued, ironed, printed, tattooed or otherwise stuck onto anything in the real world. Thanks to a partnership with Zazzle, Stickybits also offers birthday cards, business cards, mugs and shirts with unique, content-enabled barcodes printed on them. More »

Navigation | Guatemala-based mapmaking company Where To Go Maps is working towards creating a globalised mapping system that would see their free artistic city maps available to travellers for all major tourist destinations worldwide. The maps present tourists with the best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, attractions You are reading a PDF version of “INNOVATION INSANITY” (

The ‘crowds’ continue to join forces with increasing potency to create, influence, fund, predict and decide. A few examples of what is now a crowded field:

Government | Launched in April 2010, the BuitenBeter app allows citizens of Eindhoven to report local issues by iPhone. After spotting something that needs to be fixed, residents can use the app to take a picture, select an appropriate category and send their complaint directly through to the city council. A combination of GPS and maps lets users pinpoint the exact location of the problem, providing city workers with all the information they need to identify and resolve the problem. More »

Automotive | Volkswagen’s App My Ride contest invited designers, programmers, developers and interested users to help develop applications for future in-car infotainment systems. Participants could submit as many apps and ideas as they wanted by the contest's June 30 deadline. In August, the most innovative application will be chosen by the App My Ride community and a jury consisting of Volkswagen managers and external experts. More »

Furniture | Dutch designer Daniel Schipper's 100x100 lamp features a pendant shade made from white or transparent recyclable plastic; other colors are available on demand. Photos of the design are available on Schipper's site, but production won't begin until 100 orders have been received. Then, 100 numbered lamps will be produced and sold for EUR 100 each. More »

Not for profit & social cause | Kopernik is a grassroots platform designed to help bring breakthrough technologies to developing nations. Kopernik begins the process by showcasing products from inventors and technology providers. Next, vetted organizations in developing countries submit short proposals explaining how they'd use those products. Finally, 'the crowds' browse proposals and donate funds to those they'd most like to see realized. Once enough money has been raised, Kopernik transfers the funds to the technology provider, who then ships directly to the receiving organization. Updates are posted on Kopernik's website so that contributors can track the effect of their donations. More »

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Publishing | Dutch website TenPages has teamed up with three book publishers on a crowdsourced effort to choose material to be published. Aspiring writers can post the first 10 pages or more of their book, which are viewable to the site's prospective shareholders. They can then buy up to 200 shares in any book for EUR 5 each, and the books that sell 2,000 shares over four months get put into production at one of TenPages' partner publishers. Authors get paid EUR 1,000 from the initial funds raised, and are given eight months to write the finished book with the help of a professional editor. More »

Solar Energy | San Francisco-based One Block Off the Grid, or 1BOG, facilitates the group purchase of residential solar installations. 1BOG launches campaigns in various cities, each lasting a few months, during which they negotiate group discounts with carefully selected solar installers and offer local consumers access to the discounted rates via the 1BOG website. Homeowners can enter their address online to view detailed information on costs, leasing options, local rebates and how long the panels will take to pay for themselves. More »

Furniture | London-based aims to bring original design to the masses by removing middlemen from the process and connecting consumers with furniture makers directly, cutting prices by 50 to 80 percent. Consumers begin by browsing through the items online, with consumer votes determining which items from the site's “Labs” section are put up for sale; when that happens, a timer indicates when orders should be placed. All furniture is made to order in about four weeks and then shipped back to the UK. More »

E-commerce | SyncFu is a free widget that any ecommerce website can install to let deal-seeking consumers team up for volume discounts. Online retailers begin by adding SyncFu to their site and then setting the quantity-price ratio for their relevant products. To join a group buying offer, customers need only click on the “Join Group Buy” or similar button on the seller's website. At the end of the deadline for participation, all participants pay the most recently listed price. Since the deal is done directly in the seller's web shop, there are no intermediaries and the sellers keep all the profits. More »

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Last year, our Trend Briefing on ECO-BOUNTY featured plenty of eco-cool innovations; it won't come as a surprise that this trend continues to give:

Fashion | Based in New York, GoTryItOn lets users upload digital snapshots of themselves in various outfits in order to source advice from fellow users. They can decide whether to share the look with the site's whole community or keep it private and share only with friends. Either way, those allowed to see the outfit can then vote for or against it and leave comments for the person in the outfit. More »

Automotive | Ford has developed technology that helps “coach” drivers on the road to optimize their miles per gallon. MyFord Touch enables drivers to monitor and track their vehicle's realtime fuel economy performance and mile-per-gallon averages for the past five, 10 and 30 minutes. MyFord Touch's map-based navigation system, meanwhile, offers an EcoRoute option that quickly calculates the most fuel efficient route a driver can take to get from point A to point B. The feature will be available globally on the 2012 Ford Focus. More »

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Mobile & Telecoms | Orange Power Wellies use the heat in festival-goers' feet to charge their mobile phones. Created by Orange in collaboration with GotWind, Orange Power Wellies target Glastonbury Festival attendees with a power-generating sole that converts heat from the wearer's feet into an electrical current that can be used to charge a mobile phone. More »

Solar Energy | Smart Energy Glass is an innovation from Dutch Peer+ that turns windows into solar energy collectors with a customizable appearance. The windows are available in several colors and can switch between three modes: dark, bright and privacy, which scatters the light passing through. The glass also serves to collect solar energy, which can then be used directly or fed back to the grid. More »

Shipping | The Life Box offers a replacement for the traditional cardboard box that is impregnated with seeds. Within the corrugations of the box are hundreds of tree seeds and thousands of spores of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. The box can be planted after use and in about two months, tree seedlings will emerge, nurtured by the mycorrhizal fungi. In about two years, the young trees can be planted in the ground where they'll ultimately reside. Those who planted them, meanwhile, can visit the Life Box site and enter their GPS coordinates, making it possible to see the emerging trees and track carbon credits or offsets for generations to come. More »

Furniture | Finnish Powerkiss has developed an approach that imbues everyday furniture with wireless charging capabilities. Powerkiss's technology consists of two parts: a charging transmitter that gets integrated into furniture, and a charging receiver that gets plugged into the electronic device. To charge a phone, users simply attach the small receiver stick to their phone and place it on the surface of the enabled object. More »

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We covered TRYVERTISING  ages ago, yet with rampant  TRANSPARENCY further affecting  purchasing decisions, the value of getting products into consumers’  hands and letting them try them out in a relevant setting, at a relevant moment, is more acute than ever:

Marketing & Advertising | Clube Amostra Grátis offers consumers in São Paulo an assortment of new products to take home and try before they become available on the shelves. Consumers register online and pay a yearly fee of BRL 50, which entitles them to visit the store and take home up to five different products each month. Members fill out online surveys about the products they choose. More »

More on status and innovation: STATUS STORIES are now well established as a means for consumers to find their status fix, so  the need for true innovation is greater than ever. Some recent spottings:  

Fashion | Describing itself as being 'on tour', Munich-based Clemens en August's only offline sales are through temporary outlets, twice a year. Each season, Clemens en August travels to an assortment of fashion-minded cities to sell its current collections in contemporary art galleries for only three days at a time. While it also sells through its online store, Clemens en August maintains a sense of scarcity: the ‘third floor’ of its webshop is reserved for customers who've visited the most recent tour. More »

Home & Garden | Meine Ernte —German for My Harvest—rents out vegetable gardens for a season, and takes care of soil preparation and planting. Once the plants start growing, members You are reading a PDF version of “INNOVATION INSANITY” (

come in and spend 1-2 hours a week caring for their plants and harvesting their crops. In advance, Meine Ernte sows and plants over 20 varieties of vegetables, while a section of each plot is left open for gardeners to add varieties of their own choosing and a professional is available onsite once a week to answer any questions the amateur gardeners may have. More »

Bags | Nature Bags aim to benefit the ancient Khmu culture on Laos's steep mountainsides by using wild-growing JungleVine, also known as tropical kudzu, to produce reusable and sustainable organic bags that are compact, lightweight, minimalistic and highly durable. Eight variations on the Nature Bag are available, varying in both style and size—prices begin at USD 15 for a small bag in the Pahk style. Iowa-based Hawkflight has purchased some 10,000 Nature Bags from Khmu families, and is running the operation with the help of a 22 year-old Laotian student. More »

Travel & Transport | California-based Executive Tours offers a series of what it calls Crack of Noon Tours, designed “for those who don't consider themselves 'morning people'.” Rather, in its guided excursions to Italy and France, the company ensures that it never schedules any activities before noon. Executive Tours explains: “We firmly believe that travel is enjoyed much more when one is rested and relaxed — not herded and rushed. With Crack of Noon Tours, you will never hear the phrase, 'bags out by six AM'.” More »

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It’s easier than ever for consumers to earn rather than spend, and SELLSUMERS are being aided by a host of innovative new concepts:

E-commerce | Israel-based Fiverr lets anyone sell a service of virtually any type for USD 5. Categories on the site include “Fun & Bizarre” and “Silly Stuff” along with classics such as “Graphics” and “Social Marketing.” For each task sold, the seller receives $4; Fiverr keeps the rest. Both buyers and sellers remain anonymous, while a feedback system enables participant ratings. More » Food & Beverage | British high-end chocolate maker and retailer Hotel Chocolat, which currently operates over 40 stores in the UK, the Middle East and the US, is inviting customers to buy bonds that will pay chocolate returns. Two values of Chocolate Bond will be issued: both with the return paid in monthly Tasting Boxes. Holders of a GBP 2,000 Chocolate Bond will receive six free tasting boxes a year worth GBP 107.70 per year, and those holding a GBP 4,000 bond will receive thirteen boxes, worth GBP 233.35 per year. After an initial term of three years, and on every anniversary thereafter, bond holders can redeem their bond for a full return of their investment. More »

E-commerce | Field Agent is a free iPhone app that gives users the chance to search for jobs in their geographical area, complete them and get paid. Most listed jobs are in everyday locations where agents live; examples include collecting retail pricing and display information, event images, photos of items for sale and consumer surveys that can be completed anywhere an iPhone can be used. Payments can range from USD 3 to USD 8, depending on the job’s degree of difficulty. More »

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It’s easier than ever for consumers to reveal their purchasing intentions (in exchange for bids and offers from eager suitors). Here are some fresh examples:

E-commerce | Preorder.It is a website based out of Saint Petersburg that allows customers to preorder the latest devices in advance, before official sale starts. Consumers can browse through company press releases or search products by brand or category to locate whatever soon-to-be released device they want, and register their interest with the merchant. Merchants then peruse the unbinding preorders left by customers and send them offers. Preorder.It sends a notification email the moment a device of interest is available for purchase, giving site users early access to online bargains. More »

Travel & Transport | OfferMeaTrip (still in development) aims to provide a service in which consumers dictate what they want from a trip and agents bid for their business. Users of Londonbased OfferMeaTrip will begin by telling the service what kind of trip they'd like to take and how much they want to spend. The company's network of approved travel agents will then choose to make offers on a corresponding trip, which are presented in personalized online holiday brochures. The consumer in question then chooses the offer that's most appealing to them. More »

As the online world plays an ever-larger role in consumers’ lives, we are seeing  more and more 'online' and digital manifestations in the offline world. We featured plenty of examples in our OFF = ON briefing, and they keep coming:

Social Media | UK-based Yourshack offers leasing and houseshare services with a focus on community socialization. Yourshack aims to help people in its community find the right property, give them the option to share, and offer the chance to join a vibrant social scene in and around Manchester. The company’s social efforts include a free social membership program for clients, city discounts, a regular events guide and a rapidly growing Facebook group. More »

Financial Services | Kwedit offers a payment service in the United States that enables consumers over the age of 13 to make cash payments for their online purchases at participating offline retail stores. Kwedit issues users with a “Kwedit Score” which measures how reliably they pay when using Kwedit. The company takes a small percentage of each transaction, as do participating retailers, which include 7-Eleven. More »

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Serving well-established demographics, ethnograpics and other 'graphics' (and their well-documented desires) in novel ways is an endless source of innovation. In fact, if your next trend brainstorm fails to produce a few smart new products for kids, lads gays, and so on, then you might as well stop reading now: you will sadly never be a trend innovator ;-) It just doesn’t come easier than this. A few spottings: Fashion | French WTFjeans are designed specifically with gadget fans in mind. iPods, iPhones, USB sticks and more can all be accommodated in the jeans, which feature “Twitter bloo” stitching and microfiber lining for extra gadget protection. Along with the mobile-device compartments, there's a special USB stick pocket on the front of the pants, which are sold in men's sizes. WTF plans to make only 1,000 pairs and it's conducting all its promotion through online social media. More »

Publishing | The Story Book inColor lets kids enjoy a variety of illustrated audio stories without the risks or distractions of an internet connection. With a book-like form factor including foldback cover, Story Book inColor comes preloaded with 20 built-in stories including both illustrations and narration. More stories for Story Book inColor are also available on AIPTEK's site, including English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese contents as well as motion formats. More »

You are reading a PDF version of “INNOVATION INSANITY” (

Toys | Lucky Duck Toy Box provides a wide assortment of toys for rental aimed at kids aged newborn through five years old. Parents or grandparents simply choose a subscription plan and pick out which toys they'd like to start with. Lucky Duck then delivers those, and a month later customers login once more to choose their next set. More »

Domestic Care | Dutch electronics giant Philips has created a clothes iron for men. The company felt that men wanted a more robust, heavy-duty tool to tackle hampers of laundry, something with a larger grip and a more masculine look. The result is the GC4490, which offers 'more power, more steam, more performance' and is sold in a solid case, retailing for EUR 79,99. More »

Food & Beverage | New York’s Butch Bakery offers cupcakes for men, aiming to be the place where "butch meets buttercream". Butch Bakery's cupcakes are specially crafted confections designed specifically for a man's palate. Varieties include a Rum & Coke version, the ‘Beer Run’, and the ‘Jackhammer’, while designs include woodland camo, wood grain, houndstooth, plaid, checkerboard and marble. More »

Fashion | Manpacks offers Men's undergarments, including socks, T-shirts and underwear, available for delivery every three months. Consumers can choose one of four subscription packages. The JustSocks package, for instance, provides three pairs of socks every three months for USD 7 per shipment, while the MachoPack includes three shirts, three pairs of underwear and three pairs of socks every three months for USD 33 per shipment. More »

You are reading a PDF version of “INNOVATION INSANITY” (

Shipping | Indian Mirakle Couriers is a service provider that hires only deaf workers, offering a pickup and delivery service in Mumbai. The company puts a heavy emphasis on the training of employees—right down to the finer points of professional grooming. Its client list includes Johnson Controls, Bain Capital and the Indian Hotels Company, among many others. More »

Schumpeter's creative destruction truly is upon us! To beat you over the head with it one more time: besides making sure you're forever fine-tuning your basics, you also have to continuously innovate, by anticipating emerging consumer trends. This briefing has tried to provide you with examples of brands already practicing what the gurus are preaching. Publishing | Online publication Equally Wed gives gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples inspiration, ideas and trends for planning their engagements, weddings and honeymoons. Features include articles and photo galleries spotlighting real weddings of GLBT couples, engagement ideas, a Q&A section, and a section on honeymoon destinations. A community forum lets readers interact, while a vetted marketplace features gay-friendly wedding vendors throughout the US. More »

The both scary and celebratory part? Wherever you live, whatever it is you do, you have absolutely no excuse to be unaware of innovations originating in Australia, in the Netherlands, in the US, in Argentina, in Turkey, in Singapore, in South Africa ... It’s all out there, reported 24/7 by numerous sources dedicated to trends and new business ideas. So, get into gear and good luck! And once you've joined the 'insanity', be sure to let us or Springwise know about your innovative new products and services :-)

You are reading a PDF version of “INNOVATION INSANITY” (

trendwatching 2010-07 InnovationInsanity  

And since everyone from Seth Godin to the Harvard Business Review is providing you with excellent, inspiring insights and theory on innovati...

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